Cresting the wave of a pirate’s life

Beware any ship what flies the crimson flag! This LEGO ship by Ralf Langer sails on the crest of two seas, ever searching for more riches. The ship is beautifully crafted, but make no mistake–this is a pirate ship! Besides, who says pirates can’t have nice things? The ship is loosely inspired by the Golden Hind, the galleon captained by Sir Francis Drake during his circumnavigation of the globe in the late 16th century. The sails are brick built, allowing for greater detail to capture the way they catch the wind. The ship itself sits atop two curved LEGO seas, elements reused from some of Ralf’s past builds. One has a town under threat of cannon fire, while the other has water stained with blood and a town burning from a pirate attack. The captain’s quarters bear remarkable stained glass windows, and that intricate detailing in the ship’s woodwork is exquisite!

The "Death of a Sailsman" - Model view

Ralf gives attention to the fanciful work on the vessel rather than historical accuracy. However, that is not to say there isn’t any historical nuggets in the build. One is the red flag–the skull and crossbones design, the Jolly Roger, wasn’t used until the 18th century. Until then, the red flag was widely used, and it means no quarter is given (no survivors!). However, if you surrendered without a fight the pirates would be more likely to let you off after their thieving. A second is the lack of a ship’s wheel, which wasn’t invented until the mid 18th century, and wasn’t widely used until the late 18th century. What did they use until then? Something called a whipstaff, a stick that connects to the mechanisms of the rudder. I appreciate these sorts of details on builds of these old sailing ships.

The "Death of a Sailsman" - Leaving in a sea of blood